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Mage: The Hero Defined cover by Matt Wagner.
Created by Matt Wagner
Publication information
Publisher Comico Comics
Image Comics
Title(s) Mage: The Hero Discovered
Mage: The Hero Defined
Formats Original material for the series has been published as a set of limited series.

, superhero

Mythology in comics
Publication date February 1984 - December 1986
July 1997 - October 1999
Number of issues 15
Main character(s) Kevin Matchstick
Creative team
Writer(s) Matt Wagner
Penciller(s) Matt Wagner
Inker(s) Sam Kieth
Colorist(s) Jeromy Cox
Creator(s) Matt Wagner
Collected editions
Hero Discovered Volume 1 ISBN 1-58240-388-0

Mage is an American superhero comic book written and illustrated by Matt Wagner. Three volumes, each of 15 issues are planned; as of 2013, two have been published.

Publication history

Volume one, The Hero Discovered, was published by Comico Comics from February 1984 to December 1986. Despite advertisements saying that a sequel was "coming soon", The Hero Defined did not appear until 1997, published by Image Comics (Comico had gone bankrupt in 1990, and it had taken some time for Wagner to regain the rights to the series). The third and final volume, The Hero Denied, is planned, but no firm publication schedule fixed.

Wagner wrote and drew both series, with Sam Kieth as inker for part of the first, and Jeromy Cox as colourist for the second.

Plot synopsis

The Hero Discovered follows Kevin Matchstick, an alienated young man who meets a wizard called Mirth and discovers that he, among other things, possesses both a magic baseball bat and superhuman abilities. In the course of the comic, he defeats the nefarious plans of a being called the Umbra Sprite. He ultimately discovers that Mirth is Merlin, the baseball bat is Excalibur, and he is, in some ambiguous way, King Arthur. All the chapter titles are lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet.[1]

A backup story, Devil by the Deed, appeared in issues #7–14 of The Hero Discovered. This was a Grendel story that led directly into the Grendel comic series penned by Wagner, and drawn by a series of different artists, changing as each arc of the story changed.

The Hero Defined picks up Matchstick's adventures several years later as he fights supernatural menaces in the company of other heroes, including Kirby Hero and Joe Phat. Each hero he encounters is based on a genuine mythological character (Kirby as Hercules, Joe as Coyote) and comics professionals with whom Wagner has collaborated (Kirby as Bernie Mireault, Joe as Joe Matt).[citation needed] There is a new mage this time—Mirth has disappeared, and Matchstick is followed around by an old tramp called Wally Ut, who insists he is Matchstick's new mentor. In the course of the story Matchstick learns that he has misunderstood his mission, meets his future wife, and is alienated from his fellow heroes. He also discovers that he represents more than one mythical character: he is also Gilgamesh, and Kirby is also Enkidu. The chapter titles of The Hero Defined are from Macbeth, and Matchstick's wife and her siblings are heavily based on the Weird Sisters.

The ultimate issue of each volume was double-sized, and featured a gatefold page of panoramic art.

Mage ran as a back up feature in Comico's Grendel series issues #16–19.

Collected editions

The series has been collected into a number of trade paperbacks and a hardcover limited edition.


The trade paperback, Mage: The Hero Discovered, Vol. 1 was a top votegetter for the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Reprint Graphic Album for 1999.

Other media

A film version had been in development at Spyglass Entertainment with Zack Snyder set to direct, but the rights were subsequently picked up by Watchmen and Hellboy producer Lloyd Levin.[2]



External links

Category:Arthurian comics Category:Comics by Matt Wagner Category:Comico Comics titles